What makes me happy? When I properly stop and ask myself this question, I get a whole range of replies which go something like this:
”I don’t know. Well maybe I do. I’m not happy often enough. What is happiness anyway. Oh ok….. my husband. My children. Being outside. Having a fulfilling job. Is this happiness or contentment. Or fulfilment. Is there a difference? Should I look it up? NO! Back to it… Experiencing small moments of delight in an otherwise mundane day. Making things. Being with friends. Beaches. Playing the violin. Wild swimming. Walking. Practicing yoga and chi gung. Meditation. Resting. Doing nothing. Lying in my hammock. My cats…”
And many more besides. I realise that happiness is a flowing thing which comes and goes on a bed of general contentment, which also flows too, up and down with the day, the seasons, the food I eat and the people I spend time with. My happiness levels rise when I do more of the things in the above list and I find that the more I practice yoga with a clear intention, the more I am able to make time for the things in my day that I really find fulfilling.
Here are some of them:
My sister gave me a book for my birthday back in April called ‘Healing Herbal Teas’.
She then apologised for giving me a book with ingredients in it that were often impossible to pronounce and seemed perhaps hard to get hold of. No problem. With a Neals Yard in Bath and a garden full of things, I made Beauty Tea – nettle leave, calendula flowers and dandelion root from my garden – yes I dug up the roots and dried them out. So cool. Here they are:
And the finished tea. Which is tasty.
What else? Oh yes. My mum came to visit and brought a huge massive bag of rhubarb which a friend had given her. I rose to the challenge.
This was only a small portion of what she brought.
I had to act quickly as it wouldn’t fit in the fridge and was going off fast. So I made, at lightening speed, rhubarb cordial (delicious), rhubarb and vanilla jam (totally delicious), rhubarb and date chutney (too early to tell) and rhubarb gin (of course).
Walking. Sometimes all the way back from town in bare feet.
No one batted an eyelid at my unshod feet.
And lastly I want to share Some pictures from this morning (Thursday 21st June) since it’s Midsummers Day and I managed to merge so many things into one activity (#stackyourlife). Walking, yoga, being with friends, being outside, resting, conversation, community, honouring the seasons, noticing. All these things at 4:30am this morning on Kelston Round Hill.
It’s a theme that runs through my practice and my classes again and again. What makes you happy? Does yoga make you happy – do you enjoy it (and if not – why are you doing it?!?!).
Use intentions any time (beginning of practice, beginning of the day, start of a journey and so on) to help us ensure that our life and our yoga practice is influencing our life. In the case of asana practice, so that it’s so much more than an hour on the mat. Then you can bring inspirations from your practice into the everyday.
If you stop and consider, can you think of ways in which your life has changed since you have started practicing yoga? If you can’t think of any, maybe you need to rethink how you practice. Make your yoga practice really count!
Yoga = an enjoyable, fulfilling life, full of the small things.